MLK Jr and “Ghetto America”


Today is the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr‘s birthday. How appropriate to write about one of the most important issues he spoke and marched about: Ghettoes. The 1970s rock group War had a hit song in their ‘The World is a Ghetto’ (1972). So apropos now in our ‘Year of the empire 2019’:

Walkin’ down the street, smoggy-eyed
Looking at the sky, starry-eyed
Searchin’ for the place, weary-eyed
Crying in the night, teary-eyed

Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

The term Ghetto comes from the Jewish area of Venice in 1516. It’s dictionary definition is ‘A part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups’. Students of the Jewish Holocaust will recall the ghettoes created in Poland for the Jews. Steven Spielberg’s great masterpiece film Schindler’s List (1993) captured the horror and deprivation of the Cracow Ghetto. Obviously, that type of ghetto will always be placed on the top of the list along with today’s Gaza Strip, guarded so efficiently and free of humanitarian aid by the Israelis. Is there some sort of terrible comparison here, whereupon the relatives of many who were destroyed by the Nazis are now responsible for ditto to the Palestinians? Food for another column, yes?

Our nation, one of the most prosperous in the world, can it still have ghettoes? Well, going by the dictionary definition of course Amerika has always created ghettoes. Maybe not as brutal as the two aforementioned ones, but still harsh as can be. When well less than one percent of our populace earns mega millions each year, there is only so much left to share among we the 99+ %. If you use a high school economics class’s lesson plan, and say that there are 10 people in a group, with $100  to go around, and one in the group has $70,then the other nine have to share the remaining $30. If shared equally that comes out to $3.00 each. This is in reality what is going on not only in Amerika, but throughout the industrial world.

What our Amerikan ghetto system does is not so much to keep we working stiffs in, but to keep truth, justice and economic fairness OUT! For decades what is labeled the ‘mainstream media’ does the bidding of the fraction of that 1% who rule us. Yes, rule. We are repeatedly given propaganda through this media telling us that we are a democracy and a free enterprise system. Yet, anyone with a junior high school education must realize that the majority of our (so called) elected officials are within or bordering on that less than 1%- meaning they have lost any semblance of knowing the travails of working stiffs. The (so called) free enterprise system is in reality a corporate behemoth that keeps us all in this ghetto of lower pay, dead end jobs, inferior health coverage with a ‘cut or drug’ medical system, no real safety net and diminishing government services.

Yes, there are levels of ghettoization, each one surpassing the other in just how low people can sink. Sadly, for people of color, the ghetto has existed for them far longer than for we with white skin. Yet, the Fat Cats who run this empire have gone on overdrive to screw all of us, regardless of how we look or sound. To stand behind the banner of either half of the One Party/Two Party system does nothing to alleviate working stiff pain. Period! As exemplified by MLK Jr. only mass protest and mass realization of who the real ‘criminal class’ is can offer a road for change. King did not just ‘talk the talk’, but ‘walked the walk’. Isn’t it time for we from Ghetto Amerika to do the same?


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Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He has been a free lance columnist since 2001, with over 400 of his work posted on sites like Global Research, Greanville Post, Off Guardian, Consortium News, Information Clearing House, Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op Ed News, Dissident Voice, Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust, whereupon he writes a great deal on the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has a internet interview show, ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid’ with producer Chuck Gregory, and can be reached at [email protected].

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Articles by: Philip A Farruggio

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